Ready for Warren's paint shop.
Among the kits lurking in my cupboards is this offering from Bill Parker of WEP Models (now taken over by Walsall Model Industries). It is a 'one off' wooden van, probably converted from a Mink D so, a very specific vehicle with a somewhat limited range. Made for Wolverhampton Locomotive Works Department but could have been seen anywhere in the Northern Division on duties with the breakdown train.
I forgot to take pictures of the parts before I started but it comes as a sheet of finely etched parts taped to some stout card together with a bag of white metal parts for the doors and underframe components. I replaced the buffers provided as usual with a set with integral springs. There are the usual excellent instructions running to seven pages and include exploded diagrams and a map of parts on the etched sheet.
As is my usual method I began by working with parts in the flat as much as possible and this is made easy by Bill's excellent design that allows one to fix all the stanchions by inserting the tabs in the slots and then carefully twisting them on the inside. This applies also to the two extra layers for the ends door, the tabs are long enough to cope with the extra depth here.
Here are the sides, ends and floor largely complete with all bolt heads pressed out and bends (some of them very tight) and one of the wheel set units is soldered up square ready for use. This was all achieved while demonstrating etched kit construction at the annual ESGOG open day, in July 2017. The only solder used elsewhere so far is for the coupling plates, the sole bars, builder's plate and label holders. The next stage will be to complete all remaining fittings for the sides, including the door stops and doors, though the latter will not be fitted until the body is constructed since they are white metal and will be glued in place.
When I next looked at this build I discovered, when soldering up the lamp irons, that I had fitted the stanchions upside down on one side and soldered the solebar onto the top of that side. They should have looked like this:
Fortunately, all it took to correct was unseating the stanchions and diagonals by untwisting their tabs and then reversing them and resoldering the solebar.
The underframe with truss rods and tensioning bars in place ready for the wheels and brake gear to be fitted after I have fitted some cross members to the body to bolt the floor so it can be removed. There are precise instructions for the lengths of wire to make up the truss rods and tensioning bars, which make the job simple and relatively quick.
The brake gear partially assembled ready to be fitted to the underframe after the wheels sets have been fitted so unfortunately, they will not be removable for painting. At this stage all the pinned joints are free to rotate so that when fitting to the underframe the parts can be fitted in their correct place and orientation. Where there was a danger of soldering a moving joint solid I used some dilute chemical blackening in strategtic places, works every time.
The ends now complete save for the buffers; the door handles have been fitted and the gedge hook made up and soldered solidly in place having first made sure that the links can be fitted later. The hook and couplings will be chemically blackened later, they get a lot of movement so better to blacken them and avoid paint sticking the links together.
Once the cock-up with the sides was sorted it was an easy matter to assemble the box that makes up the body. One end tack soldered to one side, checked for square and then seamed up. Once completed, each unit of a side and end were tack soldered together, checked for square and then seamed up. Relatively easy to do, it just takes a little care and the magnets came in useful as usual.
To stop the sides bowing in or out I used some scrap to make formers to hold them in check and also made up a frame so that the body could be bolted to the underframe. The are simply lengths of nickel silver bar with appropriate holes drilled and tapped 10BA. Yes, they are not square; something I always do deliberately so that the body can only go on one way, though in this case it matters not, habits die hard. However, am now presented with a problem. The axlebox/spring unit fits to the underframe but the J hangers are designed to be fitted to base of the solebar. This will make separating the body from the underframe difficult, if not impossible without damaging delicate white metal parts. I am experimenting with some Slater's J hangers to see if I can modify them to fit and solder them to the underframe. We shall see. (See later, I solved the problem with some lost wax brass castings instead.)
The wheels sets ready to be fitted; I decided further to strengthen the uprights by soldering some U section channel into the corners, taking care to ensure they were at right angles to the base. A simple matter of making up a temporary jig with magnets and a small engineer's square. They are much stronger now and less likely to go out of true. The axles were shimmed to reduce sideways movement to a minimum.
The brake gear fitted as accurately as I could copy it from the drawing, all that remains here is to fit the restraining loops for the brake actuators. You can see also the holes for the 10BA bolts that secure it to the body. It is a little fiddly but the parts all fit, it just takes patience to get it all lined up and square before soldering it solid, which was done in stages from left to right using the minimum of solder lest it became necessary to take some apart again.
The roof rolls up easily to the correct curve to fit the ends and has a couple of formers with designated places to fit them to hold the shape. The roof lights, though delicate, are simple to make up but I ought to have bent them with the etched bend line on the outside, it would have made fitting the wire on top that represents the ridge or hinges much easier.
All the roof needs now are the oil lamps glued in place, meanwhile I need to think upon how I might make it a removable roof to that the glazing can be fitted after painting if I cannot solve the problem with the J hangers. There is some cleaning up to do and check those roof lights against a straight edge. Pictures are cruelly informative at times!
I remembered a little while later that CPL do a range of J hanger springs for various configurations of vehicle so I checked in my stash of parts and found several sets of long springs with J hangers; here is the set and the spring exactly matches the drawing.
However, the axle boxes do not match as you clearly can see. So I simply, and carefully, cut the white metal axles boxes from the springs and cleaned them up ready to fit on the W irons.
It was then a relatively simple matter of soldering the spring castings to the sole bars having first drilled out a hole in the center of the long tab to match those in the sole bars.
So here are all four fitted, a couple of them needed some filing of the fixing tab so that the underframe unit would slide in easily but nothing difficult. The result was a solid set of parts in lost wax cast brass, and no delicate white metal parts precariously fitted to very small footprints on the base of the sole bars.
The white metal axel boxes were then fitted while the body was in place to get the spacing correct using super glue. The door units were similarly glued in place.
Here is what the completed units look like close up; so I have my removable floor and fixed roof and nice strong spring units.
While studying the picture of this vehicle in Akins and Beard I noticed that, not only did it not have rain strips over the door, hence they were omitted; but it had no side lamp irons so I removed them and scratched a new pair to fit on the ends. Lastly the buffers were glued in place having first made sure that each one worked smoothly. After blackening they were well oiled and fitted to the glued on bases.
Some silicon oil was run into the bearings so that the whole floor unit could be dunked into a bath of neat Viakal along with the body. Then, carefully rinsed under warm running water before being dried with a hair dryer. One buffer fell off and had to be cleaned with acetone and reglued.
Now the whole thing is ready to go to Warren's paint shop, once he has worked his magic I will put up more pictures of it. It is nice to get a model that had been hanging around for a long time out of the queue, time now to start on another half built kit languishing in my over stuffed cupboards. Probably the Scorpio 1501 class saddle tank.
An interestng kit to build and not difficult for someone with a little experience. The roof could be made removable relatively easily but then the body would not be very strong since the gap between the sole bars and the floor prevents it being soldered solid.